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How To Format A Drive When You Can't Access It In Xp?


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#1 NorCal_Mike

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Posted 19 December 2007 - 01:10 AM

Trying to do a favor for my Sales Assistant and get her boys laptop running again, which is an HP Presario about 4-5 yrs old. Though it came with XP Home installed, her ex-boyfriend had installed XP Professional some time ago, and that's all I know about this computer.

Tried everything to get it to boot -- no luck. Appears the hard drive was locked, as couldn't access the drive even in Safe Mode, despite changing PW settings in the BIOS. Tried installing XP Home from my disc (intending to use her key on bottom of laptop), but it kept wanting the XP Pro CD. Without going into the many things tried, I decided it was best to try for a clean install after formatting the drive.

Have a disc w/ Darik's Nuke 'n Boot on it, along with various utilities. None of the utilities fixed anything, BTW, so here's where I'm at currently. I'm running the Boot 'n Nuke program in Autonuke mode, which will hopefully allow me to reinstall XP once it's done...with "once it's done" being the operative phrase. It's already been running for FIVE hours and it's only done 3% of the drive, and the prgm estimates 150hrs to completion, which is appx another 6 days. There's got to be a better, faster way.

I thought about stopping the process, and seeing if I can access a mode called Quick Format -- which I didn't use because it said "autonuke" was the easiest, safest format to use and had the best default settings, etc. If I interrupt the current process am I screwed here? Waiting six days for a drive to format is insane. FYI, before resorting to this I tried running some Acronis tools, again with no luck.

So, that's about it. All I want to do is wipe the drive so it will take a clean reinstall of Win XP Home...preferrably so she has it for her kids in time for Christmas.

Thanks in advance and Happy Holidays~
Mike

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#2 hamluis

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Posted 19 December 2007 - 09:14 AM

Any MS XP CD can wipe a drive...it's the first step before formatting/creating a new partition for install of XP.

Note that I did not say Recovery CD.

Just insert the CD (after having changed the boot drive setting in the BIOS so that the optical drive is the 1st option), go through the screens, delete any/all existing partitions, create new partition/format...then the install will begin.

Whole process takes less than 50 minutes.

Louis

#3 NorCal_Mike

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Posted 19 December 2007 - 11:22 AM

Unfortunately that doesn't work, because as I mentioned the drive is/was apparently locked. I forget the exact error msg I got when trying to install from the Win CD, but it was a dead end street, and my guess is because the drive is locked/inaccessible.

I toyed with it several weeks ago, and ran some of the error msgs on Google. Bottom line was the drive was locked, and from what I learned, there are specialty services required to unlock it. After that, the owner/my sales assistant, tried some things (I don't know exactly what). Apparently, the thing was a mess before one of her kids did something and nobody could log on.

All considered, it seemed the only way to avoid professional charges to "fix" the system was to somehow get in there and wipe the drive, then install windows. I stopped the other process, went to quick format, and it's not taking any less time: It's been running 9 hrs already, is only 15% done, and says it there's "55 hours remaining." Wish I could just get the drive wiped quickly so XP could go on and be done with it. =)

Thanks for the suggestion(s),
Michael

#4 garmanma

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Posted 19 December 2007 - 02:16 PM

What do you mean the drive is locked? Do you mean there's a password on the BIOS, so you cannot access it to change the boot order? If that's the case, just remove the motherboard battery for about a 1/2 hour. While you're at it, you might as well replace it unless you've done so recently
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#5 NorCal_Mike

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Posted 19 December 2007 - 11:53 PM

What do you mean the drive is locked? Do you mean there's a password on the BIOS, so you cannot access it to change the boot order? If that's the case, just remove the motherboard battery for about a 1/2 hour. While you're at it, you might as well replace it unless you've done so recently
Mark


There's all kinds of information out there about "locked drives," though I'm admittedly no expert on the topic, and no, it has nothing to do with anything as simple as password access to the BIOS. I just had a good friend here for two hours, who happens to be the top technician at a well established local shop, and he tried everything he had with him - a stack of discs loaded with utilities. He's taking it to the shop tomorrow, and will run even more industrial strength stuff he has there. He'll also plug in a new drive and see what happens, as that may be the best route to go, although he's convinced (as am I) that the drive is not defective, but locked.

All this in the name of being a good Samaritan, but that's ok. At least I don't feel so bad about no success for all my efforts, when even he met with the same, and left shaking his head. It'll be interesting to see if he can get it to work, but my gut says we'll end up replacing the drive. I'll let you know what he has to say after tomorrow, and thanks for the input.

Happy Holidays,
Michael

#6 hamluis

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Posted 20 December 2007 - 09:26 AM

It occurs to me that the drive may be dead...keep us posted, please.

Louis

#7 usasma

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Posted 20 December 2007 - 09:31 AM

I'd suggest downloading a bootable diagnostic tool from the hard drive manufacturer's website and booting to it on the affected computer.
My browser caused a flood of traffic, sio my IP address was banned. Hope to fix it soon. Will get back to posting as soon as Im able.

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#8 NorCal_Mike

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Posted 21 December 2007 - 12:06 AM

My tech friend ran some advanced diagnostics on the drive today. Sure enough, it was dead, just as suspected. The good news is my Sales Assistant will have her laptop back tomorrow, so she can load some games for her boys in time for Christmas!

She wants to upgrade the RAM to 2GB, which is DDR1, so hope to find her a deal on that since she's a single mom. Any inside tips or just use Google?

Thanks to all who replied, and Merry Christmas to All!

#9 DaChew

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Posted 21 December 2007 - 12:36 AM

although he's convinced (as am I) that the drive is not defective, but locked.



Sure enough, it was dead, just as suspected.


sure sounded dead and not locked to me, never heard of drives being locked before??????

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#10 dc3

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Posted 21 December 2007 - 01:15 AM

If you go to the Crucial you can use their system scanner.

The scan will tell you:
How many expansion slot the computer has.
The maximum amount of RAM for each slot.
How many modules are in stalled and the amount of RAM of each module.
What the speed of the modules installed is.
It will suggest modules that they know will be compatible with your computer.

Crucial may not be the least expensive modules out there, but you get what you pay for, and Crucial makes good RAM.

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#11 garmanma

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Posted 21 December 2007 - 09:15 AM

sure sounded dead and not locked to me, never heard of drives being locked before??????
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#12 DaChew

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Posted 21 December 2007 - 09:21 AM

The lock command is an internal command that is available in the below Microsoft Operating Systems.

Windows 95
Windows 98


must have to boot to dos to run the command?????????????
Chewy

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#13 usasma

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Posted 21 December 2007 - 07:27 PM

Check the sale papers for DDR1 - the price fluctuates wildly. At times it's cheaper to get it on sale at BestBuy/CompUSA - at other times it's best to buy it on the web. FWIW - Crucial is (IMO) one of the best places to buy memory from. A lifetime guarantee and outstanding tech support make it that way.
My browser caused a flood of traffic, sio my IP address was banned. Hope to fix it soon. Will get back to posting as soon as Im able.

- John  (my website: http://www.carrona.org/ )**If you need a more detailed explanation, please ask for it. I have the Knack. **  If I haven't replied in 48 hours, please send me a message. My eye problems have recently increased and I'm having difficult reading posts. (23 Nov 2017)FYI - I am completely blind in the right eye and ~30% blind in the left eye.<p>If the eye problems get worse suddenly, I may not be able to respond.If that's the case and help is needed, please PM a staff member for assistance.

#14 NorCal_Mike

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Posted 23 December 2007 - 01:53 AM

Thanks to everyone who replied and offered suggestions. That laptop is rockin 'n rollin' now, and I'm sure my friend and her boys will be diggin' it come Christmas. Installed a new HD, XP Pro, Office 2003, Photoshop CS3 w/ plugins, various utilities, and set up all their User Accounts -- something "the Mom" wanted. BEST OF ALL, I found some killer wallpaper the boys will like...and me too, hehe...of vintage Gretsch and Les Paul guitars.

This good deed may end up costing me a few thousand, however, as now I'm looking at guitars from Gibson's and Fender's custom shop. How's that saying go? "No good deed goes unpunished." :thumbsup:

Kidding aside, it's always a good thing to help someone else out, as what we put out comes around.

Happy Holidays,
Michael

#15 NorCal_Mike

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Posted 23 December 2007 - 01:58 AM

Allmost forgot, a buddy gave me a 256 stick of RAM so it's got 512MB for the time being. The boys' Mom has a lead on two 512's from Craigslist (max capacity is 1GB), and I'll install that after she gets it sometime next week. Will try to find them some games...in my "spare time." LOL

Cheers~




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